Gutbliss - Dr. Robynne Chutkan


Variety is key for the microbiome

I’m fond of pointing out that “you are what you feed your microbes”, and more and more scientific evidence is bearing that out.

A recent Washington Post article highlights just how important it is to feed your gut bacteria what they need, which is lots of indigestible and hard-to-digest plant fiber. But it turns out it’s even more important to feed them a wide variety of plant fiber. The different species of beneficial bacteria living inside your gut feed on specific plant fibers, so the greater the variety of plants in your diet, the greater the variety of microbes in your gut, which adds up to a richer, more diverse, and ultimately more healthy gut microbiome.

While you might be consuming lots of whole plant foods, you may also be eating the same ones each week, resulting in low food variety, and low microbiome bacterial diversity. This can have a significant negative impact on your overall health.

Just how diverse do you need to be when choosing plant foods? Based on the American Gut Project data, 30 different plants a week is the magic number. This includes all whole plant foods, so think fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, herbs, spices, etc. Aim for 4-5 different pant foods every day to help you get to your goal of 30 per week.

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